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EMC Corporation Helps Kenyan IT Academics to be Cloud Ready

Strathmore University’s @iLabAfrica Research Centre, in partnership with EMC Corporation through the EMC Academic Alliance Program organized a five day train-the-trainer workshop on Cloud Infrastructure & Services for Information Technology Lecturers from ten universities in Kenya. The training which was facilitated by Rita Carvalho, a Senior Instructor from EMC Education Services United Kingdom, took place from 2nd-6th March 2015 at the Strathmore Business School.


Apart from Strathmore University faculty members, other faculty members came from University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT), Moi University, Kenyatta University, Egerton University, KCA University, Riara University, Africa Nazarene University and Multimedia University. The trainers were educated on cloud deployment and service models, cloud infrastructure, and the key considerations in migrating to cloud computing.  For all definitions of cloud computing, the course follows the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology as a guide.  The course covered technologies required to build classic (traditional), virtualized, and cloud data center environments. These technologies include compute, storage, networking, desktop and application virtualization. Additional areas of focus included backup recovery, business continuity, security, and management. 


EMC collaborates with colleges and universities worldwide to help prepare students for successful careers in a transforming IT industry. The EMC Academic Alliance is one of the most social and best industry-academia programs globally. The unique courses offered by the program include cloud computing, big data analytics, backup recovery systems and architecture, and information storage and management. All these courses focus on technology concepts and principles applicable to any vendor environment, enabling students to develop future-ready knowledge and skills required in today’s evolving IT industry. “These topics have become extremely important and if we want to ensure that the people we train in this country are up to the latest technologies, even we (faculty) in universities need to be re-trained . . . and sometimes acquire new knowledge that we can use to impart to our students”, said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica when he addressed the participants during the training.


The 2014 IDC ITIDA Partner Survey indicates that 62% of CIOs in East and West Africa are having challenges finding skilled professionals for emerging technologies. Ensuring that skills keep pace with the rate of IT innovation, will challenge organizations in the coming years. To be successful in this changing landscape, IT leaders will focus on both developing and sourcing new skills for emerging roles, and key infrastructure skills such as virtualization where short supply hinders progress. Universities must also undergo a paradigm shift and start offering programs that are required today and in the future. Graduates that are well versed in both “2nd Platform” and “3rd Platform” technologies will be an attractive pool of talent in the job market.


Strathmore University is highly focused on working with the right industry partners like EMC to develop students with the right skills and quality to address the IT industry’s top concerns.


Professionals with traditional IT roles such as system administrators, storage administrators, backup and recovery administrators, network administrators, and security administrators are expected to take on new cloud focused roles in the future. These new roles include; cloud architect, cloud administrator, cloud capacity planner, IT automation engineer and services manager. The Cloud Infrastructure and Services course will be introduced to a variety of programs and levels at the respective universities that are now part of this excellent program. Registered faculty will also receive comprehensive instructor materials like course slides, facilitator guides, student exercises, and case studies to use in the classroom. In 2014, EMC Kenya Office also sponsored two faculty members from Strathmore University to attend a Data Science and Big Data Analytics course at their UK offices. This program has already been incorporated in the Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course in the Information Technology master’s degree program. Short extracurricular courses have also been planned. Students who complete this course will have an added advantage of taking the respective EMC Associate Certifications for free! This continued social investment clearly shows that apart from running a successful company EMC is very interested in supporting the development agenda of Kenya. This is the kind of support that Kenyan universities need considering the commercial value of such programs.


@iLabAfrica is a Centre of Excellence in ICT focused on Research, Innovation, Business Incubation, Training and ICT for Development initiatives under the Faculty of Information Technology at Strathmore University. @iLabAfrica collaborates with industries and other like-minded agencies to catalyze projects geared towards achieving Kenya’s Vision 2030.


Left untended, knowledge and skill, like all assets, depreciate in value – surprisingly quickly. — David Maister, Business Author and Consultant


– By Ivan Sang, Strathmore University – @iLabAfrica, isang@strathmore.edu